14. Grand Demon’s Duel Round 5, PT2.
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i have nothing to say. 

To their credit, the Thunderous Flame sect proved that, unlike most of their peers, they could fight smart. Instead of dogpiling her, they circled warily, the heavy hitters staying in front of her, while quicker fighters dodged to the sides, trying to surround her.

Fire began to glow around the few ranged attackers that had not exhausted themselves, ready to provide fire support to distract her. This strategy was a good strategy. The people who could take a hit going in for melee while the weaker members of the sect circling out of her line of sight, all the while attempting to give ranged support.

What they didn't take into account was that she could feel where they were, and while her magic muscles were strained, she could still use Sol for ranged attacks. Suspended inside the sut, she commanded it forward. With no delay, it burst towards its nearest target, legs crashing into the sand, going from standing still to a near blur instantaneously.

The woman she was aiming for lifted the tattered ends of her warrior's robe, a thin shell of flame extending in front of her as she tried to block. Steff's stone weapons went right through it, striking the woman in her solar plexus, knocking her over. She collapsed in a breathless heap, the first to bite the dust.

Another one burst from behind her, wrapping lightning around his legs, jumping into a flying kick aimed at the back of her head. A pillar of stone erupted from the ground in front of him bringing an end to his attempt, sending him sliding to the ground, even as she caught a dulled glaive against one of her weapons and sent it flying with a burst of sol.

Ice around her attacker's ankles froze a firefist in place, and a solid kick to his nose sent him flying, crashing into two linked mages who were preparing to fire...something at her. Judging by the backlash and subsequent explosion, it hadn't been confetti.

A needle thin beam of fire sliced into her back, fighting to break the ice, slowly sheering a path through her armour. Commanding the ground, she threw up a stone wall in its path, while fending off two other attackers at the same time, one weapon caught in a flaming whip, the other batting away spear thrusts.

Growling, she applied a burst of sol to the golem's left arm, yanking the ladyboy in tight leather off his feet as he held onto his whip for dear life, whirled him around her head and threw him across the arena. What kind of fucking idiot used those rope handles to keep a whip attached to their hand anyway? Someone who was too lazy to carry one. Steff felt Some small satisfaction as the ladyboy screamed and flailed for his life, his whip catching an ally in the forehead and breaking their concentration, sending a lightning bolt shooting wildly into the sand.

Turning both weapons on the other, she battered him down with her advantage in strength and speed, until she managed to encapsulate his weapon in a small pillar of stone. A flurry of fast, light hits sent him to the ground, moaning. Just in time for a firebolt to strike her in the shoulder and send her staggering forward.

The mage from before was back, and he had friends. Another thick, bloated bolt of fire streaked towards her while three different warriors charged her. He was definitely a threat right now. Steff extended her control into a linear path, she gritted her teeth and expanded precious Sol to put up a small pillar behind him, then toppled it forward, burying him underneath. Throwing herself to the side she let the firebolt glide past, then she buried her feet in stone and sand and wound up.

Snapping her arms forward, she threw both maces in whirling arcs, flattening two warriors before engaging the third in suit-to-hand combat. Really, it was unfair. He was just a slaving, probably murdering dude going about his daily business, when BOOOM, along came a call from the head cronie to go out and teach this chick a lesson. He had dutifully come along, watched as his friends had pounded her, presumably, into dust, then had been one of the hapless suckers sent in to check. And here he was, getting flattened in a single punch.

He fell over and Steff stepped over him, heading for a group of mages in the back. Whatever they were up to, wasn't good for her. Well, easy way to fix that. Lots of soft targets, all standing in a group and focusing on chanting instead of watching? WHIRLING SPEAR OF DOOM.

Thrusting out a hand, she summoned the stone spear from behind, letting it leap into her palm before breaking it off. Spinning it up, she spun it in an arc, then twisted the whole suit while holding it at the end, Twisting around with surprising speed, flattening two sneaking pervs behind her, before completing her arc and letting it go. Aimed at the congregation of sect members not so far from her.

Now, unsuspecting mage versus whirling spear of stone? The staff won every time. She did make sure to aim low, though. Broken feet were known to be far less fatal than caved-in chests, an extensive study had proven. The next few months in a bed would give the so called "young masters " ample time to reflect on their life choices or rant and plot revenge. Probably the latter.

Up next was the sub-leader if the entire sect, Han Tyol. The golden haired warrior stood head and shoulders above the rest, the coiling dragons on his bare arms seeming to move as he charged her. Flanked by two henchmen, his eyebrows were caved together in a way that made him look like an Angry Bird. With a roar, he attacked, his own mace coming down and smashing into her left arm. The ice took the blow, only slightly cracking, but he persisted, matching her blow for blow as she hit him again and again. An offhand swing sent one of his minions flying, and punch from Steff laid the other one out flat.

Her arm was beginning to show some very visible cracking, the impacts she felt underneath becoming stronger with every blow. Flames coated the head of his mace, melting ice wherever it struck. The arm took another heavy blow, sending chunks of ice flying, and Steff gritted her teeth, striking back even harder.

No matter how hard Steff swung, he just wouldn't go down. Her blows only seemed to give him strength. Her punches not budging him an inch. No, he was swinging harder every time he hit her. And she was getting just a wee bit worried. Just a bit.

It was cheap, but in the end, it did the trick. A gigantic boot of ice hit him in the nuts, and he folded for a second, whatever power he had been using now broken. The roundhouse kick to his chin produced one of Steff's Top Fifteen Most Satisfying Sights of two thousand twenty.

From there, the rest of the battle was clean up, her taking out scattered warriors one by one, and a particularly annoying one who just kept running away from her without fighting back. That one had been a merry chase around the arena, her huge, stomping golem chasing after a guy far too chubby to be running that fast.

Until, finally, even he fell, and she stood alone, atop a small mountain of stone her temper tantrum had created, icy right arm barely attached to the body of the golem, more ice cracks then she cared to count. invisible lines of fatigue seared into her back. She was tired as fuck. But victorious. The one thing that counted.

For a moment, she stood still atop the mountain of stone, savoring her victory, then, she slowly dropped away each piece of the golem, letting it crash to the floor, before she headed for the exit. With one last look at the destruction she had caused, she turned and walked away, leaving one of the more powerful sects in the city lying behind her.

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